Photo by The Georgetown Dish
The surplus West Heating Plant at the confluence of Rock Creek and the Potomac River
The surplus West Heating Plant at the confluence of Rock Creek and the Potomac River

Jack Evans, the longtime Ward 2 city councilmember and Georgetown resident, has jumped into the debate over the disposal of the unused West Heating Plant at the eastern end of K Street.  In a flurry of letters to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Dan Tangherlini, the head of the federal General Services Administration, and various appointed city officials, Evans says that while he fully supports “a mixed-use disposition” for the main building, he urges GSA to specify that the adjacent tank farm be dedicated as parkland rather than as a site for new development.

The entrance to the plant (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) The entrance to the plant

Evans suggests underground parking with the chosen developer “responsible for funding construction and permanent maintenance of the parkland.”  This is the path urged by the Friends of the Georgetown Waterfront Park and supported by the Citizens Association of Georgetown and Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E. 

Councilmember Jack Evans who supports a park next to the West Heating Plant (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Councilmember Jack Evans who supports a park next to the West Heating Plant

As previously reported in The Georgetown Dish, however, the main opposition to such limit on development is likely to come from Republicans in the House of Representatives.  This was spotlighted at an unusual congressional hearing in June convened in the West Heating Plant itself by the leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  The clear, single message from Reps. John Mica of Florida and Jeff Denham of California was that GSA must change its ways and stop dragging its feet and not getting enough value in its disposal of this kind of valuable federal property.

The Georgetown effort is led by Robert vom Eigen and Walter Groszyk on the behalf of the Waterfront Park and CAG, respectively.

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As a neighbor in the Foxhall Village area, we see all the time, especially in the spring and fall in the park adjacent to the Lab School annex, the need for more green space for groups, like Stoddert (sp) Soccer league, to play and practice. As many know it has literally become a competition among groups to secure practice and game space. The heating plant complex, that is now federally owned, would be a GREAT, in the heart of the city, large piece of property that could be converted into a soccer plex, much like the ones you see in Montgomery County, or in Crystal City where the old Marriott was. With the city and federal government working together (a unique concept I know) a facility could be created with:
- underground parking that could be both for the soccer crowds and for the Georgetown evening crowd
- storage facilities and locker room facilities as needed
- and on top of it all, a large area that could accommodate a number of fields, both regulation size and practice size.
Right now this wouldn't be a loss to anyone with regard to the value of their property, the federal government has written the property off by now, and no individual or company owns it ... yet, and it would create a wonderful, useful and unique green space in the heart of densely populated Georgetown. I hope someone will share this idea with Mr. Evans, Delegate Norton, the Mayor and others who could make this happen.